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It will be necessary to examine, in the first place, the evidence afforded by Greek tradition, and the results yielded by the modern methods of historic inference ; and, in the second place, the resources of the new science of THE LEGEND OF CADMUS.
The Greek tradition affirmed that it was from the Phoenician colony in Boeotia that the alphabet was obtained. 2$ carry off the surplus population, and to obtain the raw materials for their manufactures, the Phoenicians established trading posts and colonies in Cyprus, Rhodes, and Crete, which were presently extended to Thera and Melos, afterwards to Samothrace, Imbros, Lemnos, and Thasos, and lastly to Chalcis, Thebes and Corinth. John's 8^f instead of one or two trifling variations of form, material changes have aff'ected nearly half the letters of the alphabet, not to speak of the evolution of the vowels, a process which has already been completed in five cases, and partially in a sixth. These " Phoenician letters " were also called the *' Cadmean letters," having been introduced, according to a Greek legend, which is repeatedly quoted by Herodotus, by Cadmus the Tyrian when he sailed for Greece in search of Europa.^ It is plain that Cadmus and Europa are merely eponymic names, Cadmus meaning in Semitic speech ^ ** the man of the East," while Europa is the damsel who per- sonifies "the West." The Phoenician mariners who brought merchandise to the shores of Greece were the " men of the East," just as the Danes of Dublin were the "Ostmen," and to the English of the 14th century the Liibeck merchants were the " Easterlings," who have ' Europe, as a geographical term, not improbably designated at first merely the plain of Thebes, just as the word 'Asia' originally denoted only the plain of Ephesus, and 'Africa' the plain of Carthage. left in our language an abiding memorial of their trade in the " sterling " or " easterling '' currency which still remains our monetary standard. This general belief is implied by the very name borne by the ancient Greek letters, (jyo Lvi KTJLa ypafifia Ta. That the primitive Greek alphabet was obtained by direct transmission from the Phoenicians is indicated by such a unanimous tradition of classical writers that it must be regarded as more than a mere legend. ig Greek epigraphy must be employed to determine the earliest form of the Greek alphabet, by arranging in chronological sequence the long series of monuments which, though undated, manifestly belong to its earlier stages.
The formation of this seventh century Greek alpha- bet, which must have required such a lengthened period to effect, has now to be investigated.